Real estate and development trends across Steamboat |

Real estate and development trends across Steamboat

The Reserves at Steamboat is one of several new housing developments coming online.

Buying a residence in Steamboat Springs is more affordable than it is in nearly any other top-tier resort area in the Rocky Mountain West.

In 2018, the average sales price of a residential property in Steamboat Springs was $720,456. Not bad, considering the average single-family home in Aspen fetched over $2.75 million, and properties in five other resort areas topped more than $1 million. Aside from Steamboat, only Crested Butte and Summit County had prices averaging under $750,000 in Colorado.

Specifically, Steamboat has experienced a steady, consistent increase in market activity since bottoming out in 2009. But values didn’t improve until 2013. In 2018the market saw a slight four percent drop in transactions, yet dollar volume increased six percent over 2017. The drop in transactions is most likely do to the 25 percent decline in listings between 2016 and 2018, which gave buyers fewer properties to choose from.

Following is a synopsis of what occurred over the past year for Routt County real estate in the four most popular property types:

Single-family residences

Purchases of single-family residences in Steamboat decreased by six to 188 in 2018, yet median prices increased 9 percent to $762,500. In Stagecoach, purchases dropped by five to 24 in 2018, with prices increasing 7percent to $469,000. The South Routt County communities of Oak Creek, Yampa, Phippsburg and Toponas saw a 3 percent decrease in purchases to 30, with median prices increasing a substantial 19 percent to $246,000. 

In western Routt County, there were five more sales in Hayden to 49, and median price jumped 8 percent to $285,000. The 36 transactions posted in northern Routt County (including Clark, Hahns Peak Village, Steamboat Lake and Columbine) represented a whopping 38 percent decrease, but the decline did not hurt the median price, which jumped 13 percent to $691,500.

In 2018 the market saw a slight 4 percent drop in transactions, yet dollar volume increased 6 percent over 2017.”   

—Doug Labor, Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty


Condo sales in 2018 numbered 310, a 14 percent decrease from 2017. Four of those condos sold in Stagecoach with a $174,500 median price. The remainder sold in Steamboat, where the median price increased 4 percent to $365,000.


Townhome transactions increased 15 percent in 2018 to 179. In Steamboat, purchase activity increased 16 percent to 159, and medianprice increased 4 percent to $600,000. After hitting a low median price of $65,000 in 2012, median prices of Stagecoach townhomes increased to $259,000 with 14 transactions.


In the 2000s, land sales hit an all-time low in 2009 at 51. They slowly climbed out from their slumber and topped out at 262 sales in 2017, before slipping to 224 in 2018.

The reason for lands fall from grace is mainly due to building price increases, which went from $250-$300 per square foot in 2006/07 to $400-$500 per square foot today. Material, labor, government permitting, and more expensive building requirements have all contributed to this. Accordingly, the standing inventory of completed homes is less expensive than purchasing land and building (and taking two years to do so). Evidence of land’s market shift can be seen in the graph, which shows the percentage of inventory pre- and post-crash. Nine percent of the market has gone away from land and toward single-family homes.

After 10 years of adjustments, the gap between supply (Listings) and demand (Transactions) has flipped, as seen in the following graph.

Should this correlation continue, single-digit price appreciation will continue for many segments, but due to higher demand within town limits, look for more substantial increases in Steamboat’s condominium and single-family home market than anywhere else. The key will be how quickly new projects can come onboard, but few are close to delivery.

—Douglas N. Labor is a 36-year real estate veteran broker and manager of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty downtown office.

Other housing developments

There’s no better barometer of the local building climate than recent housing developments taking shape in the region. Here’s a rundown of current projects joining the new Sunlight subdivision west of town: 

The Reserves at Steamboat consists of 48 affordable two- and three-bedroom apartments on Steamboat’s west side. A partnership between the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and Overland Property Group, the apartments occupy 10 acres of YVHA-owned on lower Elk River Road. 

Flat Tops at Wildhorse Meadows is a residential community between town and the mountain, offering gondola access to the Steamboat Ski Resort. Homeowners can select from 21 two- to five-bedroom, single-family floor plans, with access to such amenities as a 25-meter lap pool, grotto hot tubs, fitness center, game room and gondola. 

Brynn Grey is a developer working with City Council to build three neighborhoods west of town and expand Steamboat’s western city limits. Plans call for building 450 homes over 20 years.An agreement with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority would also include deed restrictions on certain units for people who work in Routt County.

Alpenglow Village is a new apartment complex on Steamboat’s south side, adjacent to Walgreens, being built by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and Overland Property Group. Funded in part with $13.5 million in low-income housing tax credits from the Colorado Housing Finance Authority, it will include three buildings containing 72 apartments targeted at low-and middle-income residents. Amenities will include a community garden, play area for kids, basketball court, fitness center, picnic areas and natural space near Fish Creek.

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